The Actors from M*A*S*H — On How M*A*S*H Changed Our Lives

Sarah: This special episode of Clear + Vivid is brought to you by the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York. When scientists talk to the public – when they teach, collaborate with others outside their field, or try to raise funds, or change policy – it’s urgent that they communicate as well as they can. Helping scientists around the world to be Clear + Vivid is the specialty of the Alda Center for Communicating Science.
I’m Alan Alda, and this is Clear and Vivid, conversations about connecting and communicating.
A lot of what I do in my life, including this podcast, had its roots in TV shows. For eleven years as host of Scientific American Frontiers on PBS I interviewed hundreds of scientists.
But even before that was a show that began an eleven-year run in 1972. More than 35 years after the cameras stopped rolling, MASH is still shown on screens around the world. And it certainly still lives in the hearts of those who made it.
The idea that good communication depends on how we relate to the other person, was something I began to learn while I was acting on MASH— so, we really had to do an episode of Clear + Vivid where I could get together with Loretta Swit, Mike Farrell, Gary Burgoff and Jamie Farr—and talk about how we learned to relate the way we did.
It took some doing because we’re spread out around the country now. We connected through phone and Internet, and as soon as we heard one another’s voices, the kidding and laughing began.
Alan: Jamie, it’s good to see you, how you doing?
Loretta: Hi, yes.
Alan: Okay, let’s not leave it in the dressing room. Let’s get the other guy on. Oh, here comes the great Mike Farrell.
Loretta: Hey bro.
Mike: Hey, kiddo. How you doing?
Alan: Hi.
Loretta: I’m good, thank you. I’m good.
Alan: Now, Gary, do we have him on the phone?
Gary: Hello?
Alan: Hello Gary.
Loretta: There he is. Hi, Gar.
Gary: Hi Loretta. How are you?
Alan: I’m great. We’re all great. We can’t see you unfortunately, we can only hear you. So, listen, you know what? Let me start us off. This is really so great that we can all get together like this technologically from one coast to another. You can hear Mike opening up a can of beer or something. What are you opening?
Mike: Yes, it’s a can of beer.
Alan: You know, you’ve changed since we’ve worked together.
Mike: It’s spinach, spinach.
Alan: Kidding each other like this reminds me of what I thought would be fun to get into a little bit with you guys, because the show is about, as you know, the show is about communication a lot, and relating.
Mike: There’s a show?
Alan: The show we’re on now, Clear and Vivid.
Mike: Oh, oh. I didn’t realize. I thought this was a good telephone call.
Jamie: It wasn’t very clear and vivid to Mike, apparently.
Loretta: It actually is Mike, that is what it is.
Alan: Mike, I’ll have to explain to you after we go off, how to listen to Clear and Vivid, I think you would really enjoy it, especially since you’re on it.
Gary: This is the only show I’ve ever done where I have no unions to cover.
Alan: The show isn’t over yet, Gary. I have a feeling you guys are gonna organize before the show is over.
Loretta: We’ll leave that to Mike.
Alan: What I wanted to ask you about, because something happened while we were doing MASH that really made a deep impression. I mean, many things made a deep impression, but it changed the way I worked as an actor, and it was the beginning of changing the way I even related to other people in real life. And it was the way we sat around in our chairs between shots, and didn’t go back to our dressing rooms, and just sat there for an hour, sometimes at a time, making fun of one another and laughing. And often, we’d go over our lines together, but the most valuable thing to me was that relating that we did, and laughing together. And then we would walk … When the lighting was ready, we’d walk to the set, and the same connection that we had as people carried over into the scene. I remember times when we didn’t even stop the kidding until right before the first person had a line to say.
Loretta: Actually, Alan, my memory has some of us walking over to [Daly’s 00:03:27] still doing that, still running lines, and I remember one very funny thing I saw was you and Wayne Rogers running the lines of a scene that we had already printed.
Alan: That’s right.
Loretta: I said, “Guys, excuse me, but may I tell you something?”
Alan: But it wasn’t a wasted effort, because I remember so clearly, and I think we all had this feeling that the show was more important than any one of us individually, and Wayne and I, on the night we finished our first day shooting, we went out to dinner together, and had a really genuine heart to heart talk where we said we’re gonna put the show ahead of everything else, and that led to our doing a scene one day, and at the end of the shooting day we said, “I bet we can do that better.” And we stood in front of one of the trailers, as though the trailer were the camera, and we played the scene again and said, “Now we got it.” But that helped us in later scenes in other shows.
Loretta: Absolutely.
Alan: But did anybody place … Was it just me, or did you also find something of value in the way we would sit around and make contact with one another?
Gary: Well, of course.
Mike: I still sit around and talk to all of you.
Loretta: Absolutely. I called Mike last night.
Alan: Mike can do it without a telephone, that’s what scares me. But Gary, what were you gonna say?
Gary: No, I’m just agreeing with you. It was of monumental importance to keep that energy going between us. As individuals, we had a common goal together, and we had so much in terms of the work circumstances, so much in common. And also, part of that was humor, and the fact that we can sit around now and laugh the way we’re doing just by talking to one another, that’s very similar to the way it was in between shots.
Alan: Yeah, I love … Laughing is good. We all enjoyed laughing together.
Jamie: I actually miss that. When you do other shows, you see the cast members, they get around, they just run the lines and then they’re off on the telephone, or they’re busy doing something else, and I really do miss our contact that we had, because sometimes, when we did sit around and run the lines, we’d find things that we didn’t realize were there.
Loretta: Were there, absolutely.
Jamie: And would use them in the scene, and to hopefully make the scene better.
Loretta: Linville and I used to go off on our own, and work out little funny things together, and then come back to the director and show him or her what we had done, and 10 times out of 10, they’d like it, “Oh, yeah. No, that’s good. That’s good.” And you can’t always do that with other people.
Alan: No, especially as Jamie says, people go off on their own, and just handle the mechanics of it together without-
Jamie: Also, Alan, let me tell you. I’ve been working on a show lately, and it’s totally different than our one camera show that we had, where you would get the script. You read the script, and then, if there was any kind of disagreements, it would be settled before we got to the camera, and then we would keep the lines the way everybody said it was going to go. Today, what they do is they have so many writers on the set. They have a lot of cameras. It’s all digital, and they will not stay with the lines necessarily. The writers will say, “Hey, let’s try this one now. Print that one, let’s try another one.” And you can go on and on and on. It’s not the way we did it, where we tried to perfect whatever it is that we had. They just keep changing it.
Alan: Yeah, I’ve been through that experience. That’s getting to be a new style.
Jamie: Yes.
Gary: Well, I wouldn’t want anybody to think from this conversation that we were that disciplined, because I can remember that a line change was a big deal. You get on the telephone, you called Larry Gelbart, or whoever was the head writer.
Alan: Correct.
Gary: And you had to clear it with them before you could change a line. We were operating on a … There’s no freedom without discipline.
Alan: And we were all-
Loretta: I thought we were very disciplined.
Alan: Very much so. We all came from the theater, or most of us did.
Loretta: Yeah, that’s right.
Alan: And in the theater, the word is sacrosanct, and one time … You must all know this story.
Jamie: I have to look up that word.
Alan: I think I pronounced it wrong.
Loretta: Take a moment, Jamie.
Alan: You’ll never find it in the dictionary. I just pronounced it wrong.
Gary: I guess [crosstalk 00:08:27].
Alan: Well, Wayne and I were out on location, in the early days, when they didn’t think we were gonna be a hit, and they didn’t even have a telephone out there in mountains where we shot.
Loretta: And we paid for our own coffee.
Alan: Yeah, right, right, and their own peanut butter.
Jamie: Oh, I tell that story about the peanut butter and the c-
Alan: Wait, let me tell you about Wayne and me.
Loretta: Wait, wait.
Alan: Because this has to do with how disciplined we were. We were out there. We’re ready to shoot the scene, and there’s a line, as we went over our lines before the shot, Wayne said, “Do you know what this line means?” And I said, “I don’t know, I’m supposed to say it, but I can’t figure it out.” I said … And we both agreed that it was probably Larry Gelbart great witticism, and Larry was one of the great writers and so I said, “It probably means something I don’t get, but it’s a great joke, I’m sure.” So, I said it the way it was written. The next day, we were looking at the rushes and Larry was sitting right next to me, and the line came up, and Larry said, “Why did you say that?” I said, “It’s in the script.” He said, “That’s a typo.” And we had to shoot it again, but that’s how disciplined. We said things we didn’t even know what they meant.
Loretta: We had such blind faith.
Alan: Jamie, what were you gonna tell us, Jamie?
Jamie: No, about the peanut butter.
Alan: Oh.
Jamie: Remember when we got the thing from Mark Evans about we were eating too much peanut butter and we all went … all seven of us went, “Yeah, we went to [Si 00:10:00] Salkowitz, who was then the head of the TV Department and all seven of us, and we put out a hundred dollar bill, each one of us. And he says, “What’s that for?” And he says, “The peanut butter. We’re eating more-” He said, “What do you want, smoothie, crunchy?” The next day, if you remember, they had cartons of peanut butter that went from the floor to the ceiling that they gave us with the peanut butter.
Alan: But they gave us the smallest sound stage. They had no confidence in us, which I think was good, because it made us work harder. We had a solid crew.
Jamie: And no bathroom.
Alan: No bath… How long did it take that we had a bathroom on the sound stage? About six years, I think.
Jamie: Yeah.
Alan: And it’s hard to hold it in that long.
Loretta: Mclean said he had so many ants in his dressing room, do you remember?
Alan: No.
Loretta: Yeah, one day he said one of his army boots was moving across. This army of ants were moving it. Oh boy.
Jamie: And then the rats, where we had rats on stage nine, Mike’s been back there.
Loretta: Yeah, they would pee on the chess board.
Jamie: Not the rats, but Mike has been back there, and saw the sound stage, what he did. Hey, congratulations Mike, on the Versace series, the mini-series. I understand it won some Golden Globe awards. You were on that, sir.
Alan: I didn’t know that.
Loretta: Me either.
Alan: Congratulations. Why don’t you keep us informed of these things?
Loretta: Why don’t you tell us about that?
Mike: I was unhappy with the-
Jamie: With the outcome of the murder.
Mike: Yeah.
Alan: Oh, tell us about that.
Mike: No, no. It’s one of those things. I was offered this part, and I said, “I’d like to see the whole script.” And I did, and I thought it was really exciting to be able to do this character, and without getting into the whole story, they cut out the really exciting parts.
Alan: Were you playing a bad guy?
Mike: I was playing a man … It’s a famous story, and he was a real individual, one of the people that this man killed, but he had a double life. It was a gay man, but married, and his wife is in denial today about that, wrote a whole book about it. And it ended up being the subject of a potential law suit against FOX and the-
Alan: And you?
Mike: This is all conjecture on my part, because nobody has told me this. What they told me was I couldn’t see the footage that they cut out, and no one could see the footage.
Loretta: Whoa.
Alan: Jesus. That’s amazing. I’ve never known you to be that bad.
Mike: No, I said, “Let me see it, because I want to know if I was as bad as you’re imploring that I am.”
Alan: I mean, I’ve made bad movies, but to hide the footage.
Jamie: But wait, Mike, tell them when you went back to the sound stage, Stage Nine, and you heard all the-
Mike: Oh, that was crazy.
Jamie: That was absolutely fabulous when you wrote about that to tell all of us.
Mike: Thank you. Yeah, no, it was wonderful. We shot on Stage 10, this thing I did, and I said, “I’ve gotta walk over and walk into Stage Nine,” and I did, and everything, just as the experience we’re having here, everything came back to me. Scotty, and the crew, and Will, and-
Jamie: Marty Lowenheim.
Mike: Marty Lowenheim and the gang, and the circle of chairs we sat in. I mean, I was just … I was deeply moved just by being in there with the ghosts of that show, all around me. It was wonderful, and of course, for me, this was one of the great experiences of my life. So, I knew I was gonna be seeing something that meant something to me, but I had no idea I was gonna be as affected as I was.
Alan: I haven’t been back to that sound stage. Has anybody else, besides Mike?
Jamie: Yes, I have.
Alan: Did you have a similar experience?
Jamie: Yes, I did. Of course, the sound stage looks more modern today, and even the bathroom is better. They finally put toilets in, and urinals, so yes.
Loretta: And it’s finally sound proof.
Jamie: They took the trees out and the bushes. But yeah, it was fabulous to go … And some of the crew people at FOX that were on the lot when we were there are still there. And I can not tell you the degree of, how can I say it, honor that they give all of us, and remember the show, and it was just something very special in not only my life, but those lives of those people that worked on the show.
Loretta: Oh, nice.
Alan: Except the guy who found the box we buried, remember?
Loretta: Yeah.
Jamie: Arlene still have the pictures of that?
Alan: I think so, but let me explain to anybody listening who doesn’t know what we’re talking about. The next to last episode, the story was that the people on the MASH unit buried a time capsule of some belongings that they had that they would leave for other people to find some day. So, Jamie, didn’t you get the idea that we should bury our own capsule?
Jamie: Yeah, yeah. And then, I tried to find a place that would not be dug up, and I did find a place that was dug up.
Alan: You wouldn’t expect-
Jamie: It was right by the commissary. I figured they’d never do anything by that commissary.
Alan: FOX, which was dedicated to some extent to art, but mostly to business, sold half their commissary and cut it in half to build an office building, and they were digging up the ground next to the commissary where we had buried our own beloved treasures for somebody to find. So, six months … We thought it would be found in 20 years, or 50 years.
Loretta: Yeah.
Alan: So, somebody called me on the construction crew and said, “Look, I found this chest, this MASH chest. What am I supposed to do with it?” I said, “Well, you found it, so it’s yours.” He said, “Well, what am I gonna do with this?” And he wasn’t really sentimental about it.
Gary: Just think about how I felt, guys. I was afraid that you buried my teddy bear in that.
Alan: Oh, because you were part of burying things at that point.
Mike: We buried a stand-in teddy bear.
Alan: Did you take your teddy bear home with you, by the way?
Gary: No. I didn’t, no. As you remember, it was left so it could appear in subsequent episodes.
Alan: Oh, I didn’t even know that. I knew it and forgot it.
Mike: Then I apologize, Gary. We did bury your stuff.
Loretta: Yeah, we did. I’m sure we buried his teddy bear.
Alan: Oh, I don’t know about that. I don’t remember that.
Jamie: Where did it wind up? Did it wind up in the Smithsonian?
Gary: It wound up with the owner, who happened to be the original set designer, and none of us knew that. And he put it up, and when he retired, he put it up for auction. I got wind up of it, and I got a friend to help me buy it, and then my friend put it up for auction, and sold it out from under me a couple years later.
Alan: This is a tragic story.
Jamie: If we could find that guy, we might be able to find that lost film that Mike Farrell is talking about.
Gary: Anyway, I wish him well.
Alan: Oh, that’s good. That’s very commisserable. I thought that one up, too.
Jamie: Wait a minute. Is that sacrosanct? I gotta look that one up.
Loretta: Sacrosanct.
Alan: Sacrosanct.
Jamie: That Italian, Alan, is that?
Alan: So, you’re reminding me. I kept, from the show, my boots and dog tags. Did anybody else keep keepsakes?
Jamie: Yes.
Mike: Indeed. Oh yeah, I had my boots. I had my pink shirt.
Loretta: And dog tags.
Alan: And Loretta, you kept dog tags?
Loretta: Yeah.
Gary: I have the silver dog tags that you, Alan, made for us for Christmas, which I value greatly.
Alan: Oh yeah.
Gary: And I have the game that you made for us.
Alan: Oh, that game.
Gary: The MASH game.
Alan: I know, I made a game.
Jamie: I have the fuzzy pink slippers. I have the Mary Jane’s that I wore when I was at the Wizard of Oz. I had those.
Loretta: When you were Dorothy.
Jamie: Yeah, and of course, I wore my own dog tags on the show.
Alan: Oh, you did. I forgot that.
Jamie: Yeah.
Alan: Yeah.
Loretta: I would have kept my pink robe, but I buried it in the time capsule.
Alan: Oh, you did. No kidding. I hope it fits that construction worker.
Loretta: Yeah, pretty, very pretty robe.
Mike: Do you remember the J? The guy that dug that hole that buried it?
Loretta: Yeah, I really dug it. Remember the shovel?
Mike: Gave us the shovels, yeah.
Loretta: I dug it.
Alan: I know what I wanted to ask you, Jamie. Do you remember all the famous dresses that you wore in the show? They had been worn by great stars before you.
Jamie: Yes, I do. Nobody will know this one, but Dame May Whitty was one of them. Betty Grable.
Alan: You wore Betty Grable’s own personal dress?
Jamie: Yes. I had a personal dress. Alice Fay, and my favorite one was that gold lamia that Kelly and I did the dancing cheek to cheek as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. And the show was aired. And the next day, I was in the commissary and Ginger Rogers was there. She was doing The Love Boat, and she came over to me and she said, “Jamie, I saw the show last night, and that dress looked a hell of a lot better on you than it did on me.”
Loretta: She was so delightful.
Jamie: And that outfit, incidentally, is in the Smithsonian, that gold lamia one.
Alan: No kidding?
Jamie: Yeah.
Mike: Ever wear one of Milton Berle’s dresses?
Jamie: No, but you know what? One of the Bob Hope specials we did, the comedians were all supposed to come over to Bob Hope’s house to watch the Super Bowl game, and the gag was that Milton Berle and I show up wearing the same dress.
Mike: That’s great.
ALAN: While we were shooting MASH, we were doing more than relating to one another, of course. We were also communicating to the rest of the country. But what exactly were we saying with the show? When we come back after a short break, I ask my pals what they thought that at the time.
ALAN: One of the embarrassing things about saying the name of the sponsor of this episode is that I have to keep saying my own name. Sarah, you say it.

SARAH: The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

ALAN: Thank you. That feels better. Here’s a little bit about us: This year the Center will be celebrating our 10th anniversary, and in that time, we’ve trained over 14,000 scientists and medical professionals.

SARAH: We do anywhere from 100 to 150 communication
workshops every year with companies, universities, and non-profit foundations – all over the world. Our goal is to teach scientists, doctors, and researchers to be more effective and more relatable when they’re communicating with the rest of us.

ALAN: Right, so that science, medicine, and technology can be better understood by us (the general public) and also by the people making big decisions about our lives.

SARAH: If you’d like to learn more about the Alda Center, our work with Alan over the last 10 years, and the many training opportunities we provide, please visit:


ALAN: Thanks Sarah. And now back to my old pals from MASH (Or words to that effect…)
Alan: What’s your impression about what we were communicating to the rest of the country while we were doing the show? Because I had the impression that people thought we were communicating something other than what we were doing. For instance, many people said, “Oh, it says it’s about Korea, but it’s really about Vietnam.” I always thought it was about Korea.
Gary: I agree with you, but Alan, I never thought it was about Vietnam. But I didn’t think it was about … I didn’t think we were making anti-war statements as much as we were making pro-humanity statements.
Alan: Yeah, I felt that way, too.
Loretta: I think Gelbart said the best thing about that. It didn’t matter what war it was, it was a backdrop of all terrible wars.
Alan: Yeah.
Loretta: It had nothing to do with where or what.
Mike: It was really about war, but you couldn’t avoid the comparison to what was going on in Vietnam at the time.
Alan: No, and I guess we reflected a point of view that many people had of disagreement with the war, which after the war spread to a lot of the population, even among those who hadn’t been too worried about the war to start with. But, some people even thought that we contributed to the end of the war. People have said that, and I don’t see that. I thought we were more like what Gary just said. We were telling human stories.
Loretta: Stories, right.
Gary: That’s right.
Alan: And if you-
Gary: Under the worst possible circumstance known to man kind.
Alan: Yeah, yeah.
Jamie: Alan, one of the lines I still remember, and it was a great line as Hawkeye, you’re kind of fed up with all the operations going on, and you take a little bit of a respite and sit on a bench and Mclean Stevenson’s character, Colonel Blake, comes over and sits next to you, and I think he kind of puts his arm around you, and you show your expression of distaste for all of this, and he says that there are rules of war, and rule number one is that people die. Soldiers die in wars. And rule number two is, doctors can’t change rule number one. And I just remember that line. You wouldn’t find that in a situation comedy at all, but that one just me very hard.
Alan: No, you’re right.
Gary: That was from an episode called-
Loretta: Sometimes You Hear the Bullet.
Alan: Sometimes You Hear the Bullet.
Gary: Sometimes You Hear the Bullet, which shows us really what we could be, I think. I mean, that was an important episode for us.
Alan: It was a turning point in the show.
Loretta: Probably, season three.
Alan: No, I think it was season one. I think the first time on a show, a patient died, and the network was really upset. I think the guy who ran the network said, “What is this, a situation tragedy?” And Larry Gelbart, I think, from that point on felt freer to be more out front with the pain and the tragedy that those people must have lived through.
Loretta: I didn’t remember that it was so soon.
Alan: My impression is that, but I’m probably wrong.
Loretta: Yeah.
Alan: But, I think it was-
Loretta: Anybody remember what season it was?
Mike: I don’t.
Loretta: No, of course not, you silly twit.
Mike: I wasn’t there yet.
Loretta: But we missed you, Mike.
Mike: But I was watching.
Loretta: We missed you already.
Mike: I know.
Loretta: Does that make sense? No, it’s not sacrosanct.
Alan: We pre-missed you.
Loretta: Yeah, we pre-missed you.
Mike: I actually like that.
Loretta: Can we do that?
Alan: You like what?
Mike: That you missed me before I got there.
Loretta: You know how much I love you.
Alan: I, personally, am getting dizzy. What I loved about … One of the things that I thought was really interesting, we were talking about how we made connections with one another, we made connections with our characters, too. And there was an effort on Loretta’s part, and on Jamie’s part, I get the impression that you were both very active in finding ways to make your characters more three dimensional, more human, and not just the one note thing. I mean, Jamie’s first scene was just a one note thing of this guy wearing a dress to try to get out of the army, and none of the writers knew anymore about him than that. And little by little it grew, and Loretta’s early scenes were just defined by the nickname, Hot Lips.
Loretta: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alan: And you worked really hard to get that to be a real three dimensional woman with a name, Margaret.
Loretta: I did. Yeah, I did.
Alan: And the difference between those two names was really gigantic.
Loretta: That’s right.
Gary: How about Walter? I worked at that, too.
Alan: Oh, tell about that. I forgot about that.
Loretta: That’s right.
Gary: Well, when you have a character that only has a nickname, in my case, it was Radar, i was always wondering, “How do you flush him out completely, and make him a real person?” And that’s why I ask Laurie and Gene one day if they could please give me what we referred to as a Christian name.
Alan: Yeah.
Gary: And they said, “What name would you like?” And I don’t know why I said it, although I have a little playmate, when I was a little boy named Walter Pitsky.
Alan: Yeah, that’s amazing. How did you choose that?
Gary: I don’t know, it just popped out of me, and to this day, Walter Pitsky is no longer with us, but his brother, Peter, he emails me all the time.
Alan: Oh, that’s nice.
Gary: From Forestville, Connecticut.
Alan: But that’s so amazing that you were playing this part, and it didn’t even have a first name, the character.
Gary: Didn’t even have a first name, yeah. And I think a name is very important.
Alan: Mike, was it ever determined what BJ stands for? I can’t remember.
Loretta: Yeah, sure.
Mike: We did a whole show about it, [crosstalk 00:27:03].
Loretta: Bea and Jay.
Mike: I always thought it was a lie.
Loretta: B-E-A, and J-A-Y.
Mike: People ask me today what BJ stands for, and I keep saying, “Anything you like.”
Loretta: Oh, and I like the resolution in the episode. That was her name, mom’s name was Bea, B-E-A.
Mike: Mom’s name was just Bea, and dad’s … I thought mom’s name was Jay, and dad’s name was Bea.
Loretta: No, you got it wrong.
Gary: Mike, I think it was an honor of Billy Jurgensen
Mike: Of course it was, sure.
Gary: Our Technical Director.
Mike: Yeah. Actually, when I had the interview about the possibility of coming onto the show, I said one of the things I thought would not make sense is for somebody to come in and be Trapper John again, or try to be. And they said, “Oh, no, no. Of course, not.” But what we know now is this character is gonna be named BJ, and they talked about Billy Jurgensen at the time.
Jamie: Yes.
Alan: A little moment of silence there again.
Loretta: Well, Bill is no longer with us.
Alan: Yeah.
Gary: He was a wonderful man, Billy Jurgensen, and a very talented Technical Director.
Alan: When one of us started directing the rest of us, did we carry over that same comradery or was the person directing that week in a different space? I seem to remember, when we would all get the giggles sometimes at 5:00 in the afternoon from shooting in the same tight space all day, and whichever one of us was directing that week didn’t find it funny that the giggles would go on, and on, and on.
Loretta: Now that is funny.
Alan: And I remember saying sometimes as the director, “People.”
Loretta: Yeah, we became people. We were no longer colleagues.
Mike: I remember laughing. One time, we were laughing so hard I was, frankly, on the floor.
Loretta: You were on the floor.
Jamie: That’s right, yes, you were.
Loretta: Tears were shedding out of your face. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Mike: Burt Metcalfe said, “Children, children.”
Alan: But didn’t you all find that if you tried to stop giggling, that was the worst thing?
Loretta: It got worse, absolutely.
Jamie: Well, how about when they would call the suits in from the front office, and then the people with the suits started laughing. They had to get them off the set. How about that time, Alan, when you were directing all seven of us in the Colonel Potter’s office, and you didn’t think that first take was okay. I forgot, was it Casey who was on the camera? He was the camera operator. You said, “We better take this again.” We did like about 15 or 20 more takes, and what you did is, you printed the very first one that was the one that went on the air.
Alan: I was a little crazy in those days.
Loretta: A little?
Alan: Yeah, I did a … We often did many takes. I remember, sometimes, some of the scenes that looked the most improvisational were the result of many takes and many rehearsals so that it could be done with a light touch, and things of the timing would be just pinpoint, and it was what we were talking about, about discipline before. We found ways, I think, very often, to do things over and over so that they would look like we were doing them for the first time.
Mike: I remember one time, you were directing, we were in the swamp, and I was doing pushups, and we had to keep doing the damn scene, because you couldn’t make the basket with the-
Loretta: Oh, yes, with the-
Alan: I was trying … Oh, I was trying to throw a wad of paper into a basket over my head.
Mike: Right.
Alan: I was doing it with my back to the basket, and I knew I could do it. I just needed 20 to 30 tries.
Mike: At one point, David Hawks came over and he said, “How are you doing? I’ve counted 100 pushups so far.”
Alan: Well, you were always-
Loretta: But Mike, you’re in such good shape.
Alan: Yeah, you were always annoying that way. Did you all know that we could never cross the sound stage without Mike trying to walk behind me and trip me.
Mike: I was thinking of tying your boots together again
Alan: Oh, you did that. I forgot that.
Mike: Yes.
Loretta: Is that why you took up bicycling around the stage, so that he couldn’t trip you anymore?
Alan: No, but I’ve taken up boxing now, so watch your step.
Mike: Okay.
Loretta: Yes, it’s true.
Jamie: You know what we haven’t talked about are our comrades who are no longer with us, and the wonderful contribution they made to communicating on that show, the Harry Morgans, the Mclean Stevensons, the Larry Linville, David Ogden Stiers.
Loretta: Yeah.
Mike: Wayne.
Loretta: We’re dwindling.
Mike: Wayne Rogers.
Jamie: Yeah, Wayne, exactly. And their great contribution, and they became part of the show immediately. It didn’t take them very long to fit in with everybody.
Loretta: No, there was-
Jamie: It was like getting into an old shoe.
Loretta: Yeah. That was miraculous.
Jamie: Yes, it was.
Loretta: You guys just … we have Mike here, just melted into our family. There was no segue. It was just amazing. Harry, same thing. And Harry was even more difficult, I think, because he was in an episode in which he played this crazy general who flipped at dawn, remember?
Alan: Yeah, Harry played a completely different character.
Loretta: And it didn’t matter. It was gone and-
Alan: And Bill Christopher, wasn’t-
Loretta: Oh, Bill.
Jamie: Yes, what a … I certainly miss him. What a charm he was.
Loretta: I still say that he brought people back to the church.
Alan: It could be.
Gary: You know how … it wasn’t just professional, all of these people I miss as friends.
Alan: That’s right. That gets back to that thing we were saying before, we made such close contact that we miss one another more as friends than even as colleagues. And Arbus…
Jamie: Oh gosh yes. Allan Arbus.
Loretta: Allan Arbus.
Jamie: Charlie Dubin. Hi Everback. All the wonderful directors that we had too.
Loretta: My favorite memory of Charlie, we were, again, trapped in the last scene of the day, in Potter’s office.
Alan: That always made us giggle, Potter’s office.
Loretta: Because there was no air. We weren’t breathing any air.
Alan: Yeah.
Loretta: We were crazed.
Jamie: Hopefully it wasn’t in the scene that they got the air.
Loretta: That was one of the times when Mike was on the floor screaming. He couldn’t stop crying. And there’s Charlie in the corner on his high chair, and his head in his clasp, and he’s saying, “Please, please, people.”
Gary: That was one of the things about Stage Nine, is the ventilation was defective.
Mike: Yeah, right.
Gary: We would often fall asleep due to lack of oxygen. Does anybody remember?
Loretta: Sure, absolutely.
Jamie: I used to sleep at the time. I don’t remember.
Alan: I would take naps in the swamp, until the bed bugs got me, and I wouldn’t go back in there.
Loretta: Well, we would sit and put ourselves into this little trance we talked about, remember? You don’t remember, okay.
Alan: No, I have a blank look on my face.
Loretta: Yeah, that was the look. You put yourself into a little trance and take a little two minute nap.
Alan: You were telling me, Loretta, you were telling me before about scenes that … moments that you remember that still make you laugh, and you made me laugh when you were telling me. Gary, remember the scene we were both in where you were-
Loretta: Trying to take off your shorts, Gary.
Mike: Oh, God. Yeah.
Loretta: He had to examine you. It was always in our outtakes, every year, because it was-
Alan: You couldn’t take off your pants without laughing, and it just … We must have done 15 different takes, or 20 takes.
Loretta: More, yeah, yeah.
Alan: And it got worse and worse.
Loretta: And what Gary didn’t know was happening when he was trying to do without laughing, Alan would look into the camera and say, “He’s not gonna be able today.”
Gary: He’s not gonna make it, yeah.
Loretta: And would go back to the scene, and Gary there, he would be trying to take off his pants, and he’d crack up. And Alan then, would go back to the camera saying, “See, I told you he’s not gonna be able to do this.” And take after take, after take.
Gary: Well, I had never taken off my pants so close to an actor before. A real doctor would have been okay, you know?
Jamie: See, it was your fault, Alan.
Alan: I know, I understand how he feels.
Loretta: Gary, you remember walking in on me and Alan? I was giving him a shot in his gluteus maximus, at his insistence, and you walked in and said, “Oh, excuse me.” And he collapses. It was … So, we’re talking about that scene, and Gary, when you saw my leg, you came into my tent and you saw my leg and said-
Gary: It reminds me of my pony back home.
Alan: Reminds me of my pony back … that’s hilarious.
Gary: The only regret I walked away from on MASH was that they didn’t write more scenes for you and I, Loretta.
Loretta: I tell you, Gary, I still, when I come upon it in the reruns, I watch it just because it is like a piece of crystal. So, the next morning, I run into Larry Gelbart at the peanut butter machine, and I say to him, “Last night, Gary and I did a scene. I’ve never laughed so hard.” And I went on and on and on. He said, “I can’t wait to see it. I can’t wait to see it.” And I walked away thinking, “Oh my God. I’ve overdone it. He’s not even gonna think it’s funny.” So, unfortunately, he insisted on sitting next to me in dailies to watch this very funny scene that I raved about. But he did. He laughed so hard he slapped my leg. It went flying up like I was taking a test. And he loved it. He thought it was just as funny as we thought when we were shooting.
Jamie: Mike, what about the practical jokes we used to play on everyone, and you tell that story the very best with David Ogden Stiers, and the frozen yogurt at the commissary, with Richard Attenborough. Please, tell that story. To people that hadn’t heard it, it’s just absolutely wonderful.
Mike: It all started, because in the commissary, when a bunch of us were seated together, and Loretta and Jamie, I think Bill, and the woman who was on our crew for awhile.
Loretta: Michelle.
Mike: Michelle, right, okay.
Loretta: Yeah, we walked in, Michelle, my belle.
Mike: That’s right. Anyway, we were all sitting having lunch, and Harry … and at the time, a lot of big stars came and visited the show, and told us how much they loved it, and they made notes and sent light letters and what have you. Harry was with us at the table, and at the end of our lunch, a bunch of waiters came over in a very big procession and sat down before each of us a very fancy dessert. It was at that time, soft frozen yogurt was a new deal. And they said, “Compliments of Sir Richard Attenborough.” And we thought, “Oh my Lord, Sir Richard Attenborough likes us, likes our show?” And he was sitting … At the time, he was directing a feature at FOX. He was sitting across the room in the commissary, and we all turned and said … We kind of waved to him and said, “Thank you. Sir Richard, that’s so kind of you.” And he ignored us completely. And we thought, “Well, maybe he didn’t hear us.” So, we said it even louder. “Oh, Sir Richard. It was so kind of you. Thank you, sir.” Total, total ignoring us.
And Harry stood up and said, “Dickie! Dickie! Thank you, sir. Thank you.” As I’m looking at Sir Richard, and my eye swept across the room, and at the other side of the commissary is David Stiers sitting by himself laughing to beat the bang at having created this insane situation. So, the … Well, I said to everybody, “Oh, hold it. Hold it. I think we’ve been had here. I think we have to sit down and shut up.” The waiter came over with the check and, of course, on it was the cost of the desserts. So, I said, “Take this to Mr. Stiers would you please?” And he said, “Yes.” He walks across the room. He gives it to David, who looks up, laughs, signs it, and then gets up and walks out. And I thought, “Oh, man. I can’t let this be.” So, I raced out of the commissary and chased him down. I said, “David, David, David. You really got us. Damn you. But, you didn’t have to pay for it.” He said, “No, it’s okay, Mike. I signed Gary Burgoff’s name to it.”
Gary: And I wasn’t even there.
Mike: Gary wasn’t there. So, I said, “Oh God, well, I’ll catch him tomorrow morning and I’ll explain to him what happened so he won’t feel bad about the j-” Anyway, so the next day, Alan, and I mean, Loretta and Jamie, and I, and I think you, Alan, were sitting around doing the lines for the upcoming scene, first thing. And Gary, the door slams open, and Gary comes racing in, and he gets in Jamie’s face, and he says, “How dare you use my name like that? You could never … How dare you?” Just chewed him up one side, and down the other. And then turned around and raced out. And I said … Jamie was horror stricken, and I jumped up, and I said, “Oh my Lord.” And I ran outside and I caught Gary in the street. I said, “Gary, Gary, wait a minute. Please understand, it was a joke, and here’s the-” And he said, “Mike, David made me do that. He caught me this morning and he explained it all, and he told me to come in.” And I said, “Oh, that dirty so and so.”
I tell you what. Here’s what you do, “David doesn’t know you’ve done it, right?” He said, “No, David wasn’t there.” I said, “Okay, the next scene is the one in the post op, with Loretta and me, and David. How about if you come in then, and do the same thing you did to Jamie, but do it to me?” And he said, “Great idea!” So, we went and setup the scene. Burt was directing, and as they’re setting it up, Gary comes running in, and he jumps up right in my face and says, “How dare you do that? You big so and so! You can’t do … You’ve taken advantage of my name!” And we had a whole bunch of people standing with guests watching the scene. And I said, “Whoa! Whoa! Wait a minute Peanut!” And he said, “Peanut? Why you big-” He said, “You want to step outside?” I said, “Let’s go.” And out we went behind the cyc, and as we left, I saw David. His look on his face was, “Uh, oh. What have I done now?” And Gary and I got behind the cyclorama and we started … Gary started banging his fist on the wall and screaming. And I was smacking my fist into my hand, and we were having just a wonderful brawl.
And we heard David come running, running around, and it got to the end of the cyc and I grabbed Gary and I picked him up. And he was waving his arms and screaming as David came around the corner saying, “Mike! Mike! No! Wait, Mike!” I was shaking Gary, and Gary was going on, and David got up to us and he said, “It was Mike. It was Mike.” And we turned to him and looked and laughed in his face. And he said, “Oh, God.” Then he dropped to his knees and said, “Never again.” And he lied.
Loretta: Yes, he lied. He did it again and again.
Mike: Absolutely.

ALAN: We’ll be back with the gang in a couple of minutes. (Or words to that effect) By the way, you know, one of the wonderful things about having been part of MASH is that people stop me in the street often to tell me they became a doctor because of seeing me play Hawkeye.

SARAH: That’s wonderful.

ALAN: Yeah. Nobody ever says it made them want to become an actor.

SARAH: Well, for those who did become doctors, they might want to know about a couple of special Medical Immersion workshops the Center is doing in 2019. August 5th and 6th at Stony Brook University on Long Island and October 7 th and 8th at the SUNY Global Center in mid-town Manhattan.

If you’re a doctor or other medical professional and would like to apply to attend any of these 2-day immersions, please visit and click on “Workshops” to find out more and apply today! Spaces are limited – that’s

ALAN: This is Clear + Vivid, and now back to the MASH gang.
Alan: We used to play tricks, but this was a questionable moment in terms of discipline. We used to play tricks on each other during the operations, remember that?
Loretta: Yeah.
Mike: Oh yeah.
Alan: We’d be operating on somebody, trying to save their life, and the other cast members would be attaching surgical implements to our gowns.
Jamie: Clamps, yeah.
Alan: Clamps, and the trick was, how many clamps could you get on there before you make the person break up?
Jamie: What about at Thanksgiving, Mike? Remember when we played that trick on Stiers, and we had his dressing room painted purple and orange?
Mike: Yes.
Jamie: And yeah, we went on that two day vacation and then came back, and we couldn’t wait to see what he was gonna say. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t say a word. And then a couple weeks passed, and he finally said, “Mike, Jamie, did anyone paint your dressing rooms while we were gone?” And we said, “No.” He says, “Well, someone came in and painted mine salmon and mauve.” [crosstalk 00:45:14]. But, salmon and mauve.
Mike: Yes, and it’s a wonderful combination.
Alan: One time, Wayne was doing a scene, and he said he was supposed to being a little glass of cognac, and he said to the prop guy, “Give me some real cognac, so I can feel it.”
Loretta: Oh, dear.
Alan: What he didn’t realize is we did 20 takes. By the end of the shoot, we couldn’t get him up off the chair.
Mike: I always loved … We were talking before about the people we’ve lost, Thad Mumford being one.
Loretta: Yeah.
Jamie: Oh, yes.
Mike: Thad and Dan were such wonderful writers, and they did two lines, and I was asking Dan who did which, because they were both so great, and they were so demonstrative with the characters. One was the … Dan said Thad had written it. One was Bill, when someone … Actually, David Ogden Stiers said to Bill in the scene, “My, you’re vague today, Father, even for you.”
Loretta: Yes, yes.
Mike: And the other was Dan, after he was slightly snockered, Major Winchester came out of the mess tent, and we were all supposed to be keeping a secret, and he said, “My lips are seals.”
Loretta: Bill, he was so funny. Fortunately, I brought something to read. Remember, he was at the bottom of a Jeep?
Alan: Yeah, he was in the bottom of a Jeep with about 20 nurses on top of him, and he had to be there for two or three hours while we shot the scene. And we said, “Bill, were you all right under all those nurses?” He says, “Fortunately, I brought something to read.”
Gary: I sent him a bible at one point that was in Ancient Greek, the original Ancient Greek.
Alan: Really?
Loretta: Where did you find such a thing?
Gary: He thanked me profusely for it. He was an amazing guy, Billy.
Loretta: Oh, yeah.
Alan: Yeah, very smart, and wonderfully funny.
Loretta: So perfect for that role. I mean, there’s no more perfect priest than Bill was.
Gary: A unique sense of humor.
Loretta: Yes.
Gary: I miss him terribly.
Loretta: Yes. We all, remember, we all would imitate his voice? Everybody did contests, men, women, children
Gary: Jocularity, jocularity.
Alan: There’s somebody on Twitter with the handle, jocularity, jocularity.
Loretta: Well, that was Harry, wasn’t it?
Alan: No, no. That was Bill, I think.
Loretta: Yeah, but then we all-
Alan: I don’t know, it was so long ago. What show are we talking about? People tell me, as a matter of fact, people say to me, “I’ve seen the show so many times. I’ve watched every episode many times. I know all your lines by heart.” And I said, “Well, that’s better than I did at the time.”
Gary: I can remember you putting your lines in the wounds of the patients.
Alan: Yeah, they really fit nicely, too. Actually, we didn’t operate on patients. We operated on pieces of foam rubber, so it looked like you were sewing something. But, because it was a lot of complicated doctor talk, that included words I had never seen before, I would put the script on the piece of foam so that I had to be looking down anyway for the operation, so it wasn’t much of a cheat.
Loretta: If I may, it was brilliant. You raised it to an art form. I’ve never seen anything done so well.
Alan: I wasn’t so bad as some actors I’ve heard of who … Actually, this is hard to believe. In a close up, or an over the shoulder, where the camera is behind the other actor and it’s on your face, I’ve heard of actors who would ask the actor whose face wasn’t being seen by the camera to wear a Post-It on his forehead with the line.
Jamie: Alan, I’d like to say something really nice about you, if that’s possible.
Alan: Oh, thank you. But your not going to.
Loretta: But you can’t. But you’re not able to.
Jamie: You talked about the discipline that you had when you would shoot five days a week on MASH and then go home on the weekends to New Jersey to your family. I thought that was absolutely fantastic.
Alan: I get a little more credit than I deserve, because I only did that for four months out of the year. The rest of the time, we were together and I didn’t have to fly back. And then, when the kids went to college, I didn’t have to do it anymore, because Arlene and I were together. But there wasn’t one of us who wasn’t totally committed to it, and we gave each other strength by that. We gave each other confidence to continue the commitment, because we saw we were surrounded by people who did the same thing.
Loretta: The support was just amazing, how we loved and supported each other without thinking. It’s in retrospect, we look at that now and realize how incredible that was, although, although, I will say, we were shooting, and Alan and I were in helmets. We were waiting either for the sun, or something to happen, and we looked at each other and you said, “Isn’t this wonderful? I mean, aren’t we lucky to be us?” And you wrote it again in a book that you gave me, and I thought, “How wonderful that we were able to, while it was happening, appreciate how special and wonderful it all was, this happening, this MASH happening that we were all a part of.”
Alan: But it didn’t just … Pardon me, it didn’t just happen out of the blue. Do you all remember … Mike, you wouldn’t remember this, because you came in a couple of years later.
Loretta: When I was still missing you.
Mike: Sure, rub it in.
Loretta: I was missing you, Mike.
Alan: And we would … Friday night, we’d have pizza and some beer, and we’d sit in a circle of chairs, and this time, it wasn’t to make each other laugh, it was to complain to each other about things that went-
Loretta: What went wrong.
Alan: It was like group therapy. It was really painful sometimes. But we did that-
Jamie: And the pizza wasn’t that good either.
Alan: And we did that for weeks. I thought it would never end, but it was really valuable, because we understood better from that, who we were, who the other people were. It wasn’t just our version of them. We understood how they saw life, from their point of view, and we could work around one another’s idiosyncrasies.
Alan: So, listen, I’m getting waves from the control room that we have to wrap it up.
Loretta: That we have no discipline.
Alan: That’s the other complaint. But, I hope you’ll all join me in this. At the end of one of these shows, we do seven quick questions, hopefully, getting seven quick answers. And they’re all generally, in some vague way, related to communicating and relating. So, are you all game to give me some quick answers?
Mike: Sure.
Alan: Yeah?
Loretta: Yeah, I’m game.
Alan: Okay, so, we’ll start. So, we’ll just go around and around. So, we’ll do Loretta, Mike, Gary, Jamie, how’s that? Okay, number one, what do you wish you really understood?
Loretta: Period? Or question mark? That was it? That was the question mark?
Alan: Yeah, question mark. Yeah, that’s it.
Loretta: What do I wish that I really understood?
Alan: Yeah, this is taking a long time.
Loretta: Yeah, myself.
Alan: You wish you understood yourself, great. Mike?
Mike: God.
Alan: Oh, Gary?
Gary: How people can be saying the same thing, and think that they’re saying the opposite.
Alan: I think I’m experiencing that right now. Jamie?
Jamie: People.
Alan: You wish you understood people. Okay, number two, what do you wish other people understood about you, Loretta?
Loretta: That I try hard and mean well.
Alan: Mike?
Mike: That I try hard and mean well.
Alan: [crosstalk 00:55:42].
Loretta: Did you put that in echo?
Alan: And that you’re a thief.
Gary: Would you repeat the question?
Alan: Yeah, the question is, what do you wish other people understood about you?
Gary: I don’t know.
Alan: Let’s do something nice in that. Jamie?
Jamie: Not complicated.
Alan: Not complicated. Okay, number three. Loretta, what’s the strangest question anyone has ever asked you?
Loretta: You just did.
Alan: Okay, Mike?
Mike: Is Alan Alda really as nice as he seems?
Alan: And this strikes you as strange?
Mike: It strikes me as redundant.
Alan: Gary?
Gary: Do you really sleep with a teddy bear?
Alan: They really say that? Oh my God.
Gary: They say it all the time, and I think it’s the strangest thing I ever heard. I mean, it completely defies the reality of I was playing a character once.
Alan: I know. Jamie?
Jamie: Are you still alive?
Loretta: Hey Alan, can I back up and take another shot at that one?
Alan: Yeah, sure.
Loretta: Because it wasn’t such a strange question. What I find strange, because we’re such a close nit family, people will say, “Do you keep in touch with any of those people?”
Alan: Yeah, it seems strange to us.
Loretta: I know, I know that-
Alan: In fact, we all know that most theatrical companies, when they dissolve-
Loretta: They dissolve.
Alan: … that’s the last time you see the other person.
Loretta: Yeah.
Mike: Yeah.
Alan: Even if you’ve been very close.
Loretta: Worse yet, and they were not very close to begin with.
Alan: Right. Okay, so Loretta, now here’s the next question.
Loretta: Okay.
Alan: How do you stop a compulsive talker?
Loretta: Oh, my. I don’t know that I even try. I just let them go on and on and on.
Alan: Okay.
Loretta: I don’t know.
Alan: That’s one way.
Loretta: I don’t know.
Alan: Mike, how do you stop a compulsive talker?
Mike: My wife has a little business card looking thing that you hold up and it says, “Stop talking.”
Alan: Is that true, really?
Mike: That is true.
Alan: That’s a good idea. Gary, would you have a technique?
Gary: Not really. I find myself backing away eventually.
Mike: Far enough, and they’re yelling.
Alan: Jamie, how about you? How do you stop a compulsive talker?
Jamie: It looks like I’m listening, but I’m not really hearing.
Alan: Yeah, and they eventually stop?
Jamie: Yes.
Loretta: I’m afraid that I’m a compulsive talker, which is why I don’t have an answer to that.
Alan: Well, the thing is, your trick is you don’t have to stop a compulsive talker.
Loretta: Because I’m still talking.
Alan: Yes.
Loretta: They don’t get in on it.
Alan: Loretta, is there anyone for whom you just can’t feel empathy?
Loretta: Yeah.
Alan: He’s gonna go unnamed?
Loretta: Well, yes. Yeah, probably the government right now, the president. I’m having a lot of difficulty feeling.
Alan: So, Mike, do you have anyone you can’t feel empathy for?
Mike: So far, I haven’t been able to work up any for Senator Mitch McConnell.
Alan: Okay, all right. This is all getting political, but Gary, how about you?
Gary: I feel that we owe everybody empathy, and I try my best with all people-
Alan: Okay.
Gary: … to show empathy.
Alan: Jamie, how about you?
Jamie: People who don’t see the glass half full.
Alan: All right. I think people without empathy should be hung, don’t you?
Loretta: That’s a little harsh, Alan.
Alan: Okay, right. So, Loretta, how do you like to deliver bad news, in-person, on the phone, or by carrier pigeon?
Loretta: Definitely, in-person.
Alan: In-person, you like it, huh?
Loretta: I don’t like it, no.
Alan: But you prefer it.
Loretta: I wouldn’t … I’d turn it around to me. How would I want to hear something?
Alan: Right, right.
Loretta: And I would want somebody to be there with me.
Alan: Mike?
Mike: I think it would be unfair to do it anything other than personally.
Alan: Gary?
Gary: In-person.
Alan: And Jamie?
Jamie: Drums.
Alan: Tom toms.
Jamie: No, in-person. Yeah, no, in-person.
Alan: Oh, that’s good. That’s really good. Okay, last question. What, if anything, would make you end a friendship?
Loretta: It would have to be something terribly serious, like, I don’t know, murder, or I don’t know, yeah, to end-
Alan: Okay, well, let’s all keep that in mind. So, Mike, what about you?
Mike: Treachery.
Alan: Treachery, Gary?
Gary: If signing my name to the bill of commissary didn’t do it [crosstalk 01:00:47], practically nothing.
Alan: That’s good.
Gary: I think lying to me more than once might do it.
Alan: Jamie, how about you?
Jamie: Betrayal.
Alan: Betrayal.
Loretta: Yeah, but those are very ser- … those are the serious things that I’m not giving a name to. I mean, it would have to be something deadly serious, like disloyalty, or you know.
Alan: Well, this is a good question to end our conversation on, because I don’t see any of us ever not valuing our friendship the way we do now.
Loretta: Ditto.
Alan: It’s been so good to talk to you. I love you all, and I’m so glad that you joined this.
Gary: Love you too, Alan.
Loretta: Ditto.
Jamie: Same to you, Alan, and to Loretta, and to Gary, and to Mike.
Loretta: Yeah, you guys are like a little miracle in my life.
Mike: I quite agree with all of that. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for having had this experience in my life, and continuing to have these relationships.
Loretta: Yeah.
Alan: I think how we all feel about one another.
Loretta: For me, it was saying goodbye to Harry, in Goodbye, Farewell. I had to look at that face, into those eyes, and say, “You dear, sweet man. I’ll never forget you.” I can’t do it today without choking up, because the truth of the matter is we never will forget that dear sweet man.
Alan: So, thanks Loretta, we’re going out on a laugh.
Jamie: Now that’s clear and vivid.
Loretta: I do love him.
Alan: Thank you so much, guys. That was so much fun. Love to you all, thanks so much.
Loretta: Love to you all.
Jamie: Love to you and your family, Alan, and everybody’s families.
Alan: Thank you, to yours to.
Loretta: God bless. Talk to you soon.
Alan: Bye bye.
Loretta: Bye. Bye dears.

This has been Clear + Vivid, at least I hope so.

I want to thank Loretta, Mike, Jamie, and Gary for making this experience possible. We do try to get together every once in a while for dinner, but this has been a special conversation.

My pals have been doing lots of interesting things. Gary has been helping out the victims of the California wildfires … he recently set up a GoFundMe campaign and you can donate to people affected by the fires by going to

And Gary’s book, “To MASH and Back” is available for sale online.

Jamie is currently in a recurring role as Dudley on the new Fox Network TV series,”The Cool Kids”. It airs Friday nights at 8:30 pm EST immediately after “Last Man Standing”.

Mike periodically does a one-man show, “Dr. Keeling’s Curve,” about global warming. It’s about Dr. Charles David ‘Dave’ Keeling, who pioneered the understanding of the rising CO2, and its impact on our planet. He’ll perform the play next do at Southern Illinois University in March.

Ever since I met Mike, I’ve known him to be dedicated to social justice concern – he’s been the President of Death Penalty Focus for 25 years. You can find out more about his work at:

Loretta has recently created a book called: “SWITHEART The Watercolor Artistry & Animal Activism of Loretta Swit.”

The only place you can get her book, for now, other than at her personal appearances, is with a $60.00 or more donation to her charity on her website and she’ll personalize as well. To find out more go to:

And … Loretta is really in to social media, and you can find her on Instagram: @lorettaswit
Twitter: @Loretta_Swit
And Facebook at RealLorettaSwit

This episode was produced by Graham Chedd with help from our associate producer, Sarah Chase. Our sound engineer is Dan Dzula, our Tech Guru is Allison Coston, our publicist is Sarah Hill.

AND … I’d also like to acknowledge all of the engineers at Stitcher & Earwolf who managed the great feat of getting us all online at the same time and who helped make this possible. My deep thanks to …

John DeLore
Casey Holford
Brendan Byrnes
Sam Kieffer

And … to my Executive Assistant Jean Chemay – absolutely none of this would have happened without you. You were, as you always are—amazing! Thanks, Jean!

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Thanks for listening. Bye bye!